With a remarkably mild winter this year, farmers across the country are noting some startling effects of the unusual climate.
While many farmers typically cheer for warm weather, this season’s incredibly mild winter may cause problems for farmers across the country, particularly those in the Northeast. According to the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the 2011-2012 winter is the mildest on record, with average temperatures five degrees higher than usual.
The warmer weather has caused many plants to begin budding earlier than usual. One Connecticut farmer reported seeing her maple trees budding already, which means a shorter season and darker syrup with a different taste. Many farmers have reported daffodils blooming and many birds and insects that aren’t normally seen until the end of March.
Many farmers are already changing their planting patterns. For example, many Northeast farmers are planting pumpkins in the summer, since the warmer weather has expanded their growing cycle.
Other farmers across the country have not been able to adapt as easily. The warming pattern is not unique to the Northeast. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, temperatures in most areas of the U.S. have increased one to two degrees over the past 50 years.
For some farmers this means excess crops and lower prices. Strawberry farmers in California and Florida, for example, have seen record harvests this winter, which have driven down prices and could threaten many farmers in the region.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer